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No evident risk of AMD progression following cataract surgery

In a recent interim analysis of a prospective trial, researchers found that cataract surgery does not appear to increase the risk of progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There has been some fear that cataract surgery may lead to AMD progression, a concern that stems from the increased patient exposure to blue light following the procedure. Lens implants normally do not shield this wavelength of light (although some artificial lenses have recently instituted blue-light filters). Paul Mitchell, MD, and colleagues conducted a 3-year interim analysis on the 5-year Australian Cataract Surgery and Age-related Macular Degeneration (CSAMD) study. Patients at risk of early AMD and those at risk of late AMD were analyzed 3 years following unilateral cataract surgery. In both patient groups, there was no significant difference in AMD progression between operated and non-operated eyes. Nor was there a significant different in incidence of drusen. However, retinal pigment abnormalities were more frequent in operated compared to non-operated eyes, a sign that may be an early indicator of the disease. Mitchell proposed that these abnormalities might simply be more clear to the observer following surgery, and hence may be unrelated to AMD risk. While this analysis yields promising results, more studies must be performed to further evaluate the relationship between cataract surgery and AMD progression.*

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